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February 23rd, 2019

The Farrelly Brothers Dumb And Dumber To Interview

In the Farrelly Brothers’ hilarious sequel, “Dumb and Dumber To,” Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) reprise their famous roles 20 years after their last idiotic adventure together in “Dumb & Dumber.” In one of the first “Gotcha!” moments in the new movie, Harry discovers the real reason why Lloyd has been residing in a mental facility for two decades and it’s got nothing to do with Mary Swanson. His next shocking discovery launches the duo on a brand new adventure. Opening in theaters November 14th, the comedy also stars Kathleen Turner, Rob Riggle, Laurie Holden and Rachel Melvin.

At the film’s recent press day, Peter and Bobby Farrelly talked about what their first day back on set was like, why the whole movie is about Harry getting revenge, how their humor is exactly the same as the first film, how Carrey’s enthusiasm for doing a second movie inspired the project, their decision to bring Turner on board and dress her down for the role, some of the callbacks from the first film like the Mutt Cutts van and the Big Blue Bug, shooting digitally, the wonderful end credits, and the possibility of a third movie in 20 years.

Here’s what they had to say:

QUESTION: The first day back on set, was it easy for Jeff and Jim to get back into character? Did you guys meet beforehand?

PETER FARRELLY: We met a lot beforehand. They’re two different guys. They have two different styles. There’s an old story about Laurence Olivier working with Dustin Hoffman on “Marathon Man” where Dustin Hoffman was torturing himself staying up all night, and losing weight, and doing everything to get into the role. Laurence would just show up and do it. One day Laurence says to him, “You know, I have an idea. Did you ever consider not doing that and just acting?” Well that’s how these two are. Jim, he’s in it like six months before the movie. He just gets his head there and thinks about it top to bottom, front to back. We go through the script with him. He gets the hair right. He shows us the hair for weeks and weeks and gets everything. His brain has to be right there, and that’s how he works best. Jeff just shows up on the set, literally goes [shakes his head and let’s his hair go wild], “Alright, let’s go.” And that’s it. He just does it. It’s two different styles. But the instant they did that first take, it was back to the old movie. It was immediate.

Q: I’m curious about the idea of Jim Carrey’s character pretending to be in a coma for 20 years. Was it very early on that you guys came up with that concept? At what point did you figure out that was how you wanted to bridge the two movies?

BOBBY FARRELLY: It was one of the obstacles we had to overcome. What’s been going on for 20 years? Where are they? Who came up with that exactly? We surround ourselves. Our writing partner, Bennett Yellin, pitches in quite a bit, and we have some other guys too that chime in, and somebody came up with that idea.

PETER FARRELLY: First, we were thinking, “Where would he be?” We thought about this for many months by the way. Like what would have happened? Then it occurred to us that he might be in a mental institution for Mary. He might not have gotten over her. And that’s how we first started. We were thinking he’s in a mental institution and he cracked up after Mary. Maybe Harry has to get Lloyd out of there. Then at some point, somebody said, “What if it’s ‘gotcha!’” and then we just howled thinking what an idiot that he would be faking it for all those years.

BOBBY FARRELLY: It’s probably the best years of his life.

PETER FARRELLY: It made perfect sense. And then, of course, that really helped. When we wrote it, we got to the end and then got the second ‘gotcha’ in there. That’s when we realized that was really good. We lucked out that we had the first one which gave us the second one. It gave us something else going on. And this is the thing that I’m proudest of in this movie by the way. This movie is almost exactly like the first movie in this regard. You don’t mess with Harry. If you fuck with Harry, he comes back and bites you. In the first one, they talk about Fraida Felcher. He said, “I had a girlfriend. Somebody was fooling around with her. I never did find out who.” And then later, we find out it was Lloyd. Well, he knew all along and that’s why he chases Mary Swanson. When she hits him with a little powder puff of snow, he gets revenge. When he walks in the room and Jim sprays him in the face, he bats him in the back of the legs with that cane. And that’s what happens in this movie, but you never see it coming. This whole movie is about Harry getting revenge. He gets revenge on Lloyd for playing that gag on him in the beginning, and I love that. This is for the college kids to study later on.

BOBBY FARRELLY: Well I never realized it either. Thanks for explaining it to me. Now it makes perfect sense.

PETER FARRELLY: That’s what makes me so happy. It’s the same thing, but you don’t see it coming. Harry always gets revenge. Don’t mess with Harry.

BOBBY FARRELLY: Don’t mess with Texas and don’t mess with Harry.

Q: Were you able to have Jim and Jeff cut their hair back into the exact same styles from 20 years ago, or did you need meticulously constructed wigs of their hair from the first movie?

BOBBY FARRELLY: No, that was their actual hair. There was a little bit of a wig with Jeff. The one thing we struggled with was whether Jim was going to chip his tooth. Remember that?

PETER FARRELLY: Yeah. That’s a real chipped tooth that Jim has. He chipped his tooth as a kid and he has something over it. Every time he has to re-chip it again, they have to take off a little more.

BOBBY FARRELLY: Yeah. Some dentists told him, “If you keep taking this thing off, eventually we’re not going to be able to put it back on.”

PETER FARRELLY: There was a little talk about doing it with CGI, but that wouldn’t have looked good, so he eventually took it off. But with the hair, Jim’s hair took some doing. We had a guy come in and he just cut the bowl, but that’s their hair. There were no wigs. It was easy. We didn’t have to wait in the morning to get wigs together.

Q: In the 20 years that have passed, how has your humor changed? Do you think it’s gotten a little more irreverent?

BOBBY FARRELLY: I think it’s exactly the same. I hope it is because we wanted “Dumb and Dumber Too” to be pretty much exactly like the original. I think that with Harry and Lloyd, Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, that we have kept it the same. I don’t think there’s much tonally different.

PETER FARRELLY: We didn’t want the tone of the original to change because they don’t change. And even though humor evolves and changes all the time, if they were suddenly wry or hip or different, it wouldn’t feel right. We wanted the two movies to blur together. I would say our own personal sense of humor – I don’t know. There were times when we wanted to go soft like the Three Stooges, but we just don’t want to push it that much. It’s a kid’s movies and at times we like to push it. This was sort of in between.

Q: Going back 20 years ago, how close were you then to a sequel happening, or has this just been something that you didn’t really talk about? When did the idea hit that this would be the story for this one?

PETER FARRELLY: We were never really close to doing a sequel. We didn’t want to do a sequel right after the first one because that was our first movie and we didn’t just want to be Dumb and Dumber guys. We wanted to go off and do other things. And then a few years later, there was talk of it. We never wanted to do a sequel to anything else, but this one was a logical sequel because they hadn’t grown at all. We left them right where we started with them, so why not do it again? But we really didn’t go for the plot until five years ago when Jim called and said, “Let’s do a sequel to ‘Dumb & Dumber.’ He had just seen it on TV. He loved it and he said, “I want to do another one” and then we started thinking about the story and what it would be.

BOBBY FARRELLY: Yeah. It’s funny when we make a movie, and I’m sure it’s the same for Jim. Once you make it and put it out into the theater, you’re probably not going to sit around in your house and watch it again. So, I think Jim had probably gone 15 years without seeing “Dumb & Dumber,” and when he did see it, it reminded him of how much fun he’d had making it. So he wanted to get back to doing that again.

Q: Can you talk about the inclusion of the Honey Boo cast in the film? With the recent controversy surrounding that series, was there any pressure from the studio or any thoughts on your own over the last few weeks to delete that scene?

PETER FARRELLY: I know nothing about that. I hear innuendo and rumors, but I don’t really know anything about that. I haven’t even thought about it. That’s the truth.

BOBBY FARRELLY: Yeah, it wasn’t the cast either. It was just the one woman. And with us, she was perfectly delightful. So we don’t know anything about any of that.

Q: Did you have any déjà vu moments with the guys considering all of you worked together 20 years ago? Did you have any moments during the shooting of it that were like, “Oh my Gosh, I feel like I’m back in 1994”?

PETER FARRELLY: I did every time Jeff Daniels bent over and you could see the top of his butt crack.

BOBBY FARRELLY: It’s a good memory.

PETER FARRELLY: It’s just something about seeing the top of that guy’s butt crack that brings me happiness.

Q: Can you talk a little about bringing the amazing Kathleen Turner onboard?

PETER FARRELLY: We dressed her down. I mean, when you see her out at night, it’s not what you saw in the movie.

BOBBY FARRELLY: She’s very elegant. She’s hot.

PETER FARRELLY: She looks very good at night when she goes out on the town. We took her down and she knew that. She was an incredible trooper because she knew we were making fun of her. The studio said, “There’s no way she’s going to do this.” But she’s smart and she read the whole script and said, “Yeah, I’ll do that,” because she saw it wasn’t just a one-note joke. She comes in later and is sort of the heart and soul of the last act. So, she was a trooper and she was fun to have around. It’s like having an old-time movie star around the set. She’d call at night and say, “Hey, do you want to get a martini?” “Yeah, let’s go do that.” She was cool.

BOBBY FARRELLY: We went out of our way to dress her down. We put her under the hood of a car with motor oil grease all over her and in a funeral parlor and stuff like that. But she’s really a very elegant lady.

PETER FARRELLY: We’d go out at night, and believe me, she’d have guys coming from all over the room. “Are you Kathleen Turner? Hi, how are you?” So she was just playing it down to say the least.

Q: Why did you guys cut the scene with Mutt Cutts, the band?

PETER FARRELLY: We didn’t want to revisit every moment from the original, but there’s something about that van that just makes people happy. Right now, that van is traveling across the country. We started it in Boston and it’s going to end up on Monday at our premiere in Westwood. I was there in Boston when it was just driving around town. There’s just something about that car that makes people laugh and brings happiness to people. We wanted to get it back in there, but we didn’t want to have everything exactly like the original.

Q: In one of the traveling road shots, the Big Blue Bug is very prominently featured. Is there more to that?

PETER FARRELLY: The Big Blue Bug is kind of a famous landmark in Providence, Rhode Island. It’s an extermination company right off Route 95. And everybody that comes into Providence, that’s the first thing you see, that Big Blue Bug.

BOBBY FARRELLY: It’s a termite, but everybody thinks it’s a cockroach.

PETER FARRELLY: It’s kind of embarrassing that that’s the big, “Hi! You’re in Rhode Island.” It’s a termite. So, in the first movie, when they had left town, we had shown it. I could not believe how many Rhode Islanders came up and were thrilled that we had done it. So with this one we thought we’d show it again just for fun.

BOBBY FARRELLY: It makes more sense for people in Rhode Island than anywhere else.

PETER FARRELLY: There were a lot of things in there that Rhode Islanders will lose their minds over, like the Haven Brothers truck and a few things like that.

Q: It’s a good thing they’re still in business.

PETER FARRELLY: Yeah, I think they’re doing well. Plus they gave us the hat so we had to.

Q: I imagine 20 years later you’re shooting on digital now. Was it tough to make it look like the film of the first movie?

PETER FARRELLY: Digital is all new to us. We’ve mostly shot on film our whole careers, and when we shot the first one, we were cutting on film and it was the old fashioned reel to reel, put the thing on, cut it, look at the scene. It took forever to edit. Now you have the machines like AVID and it’s so much simpler. But we wanted it to look the same. So what happens is that at the end you have guys who come in who are experts, and they put in grain and they put in things that will make it [look like the first movie]. You don’t want it to look video-ish. And you don’t want it to look too bright like those 4K things where everybody’s going, “What the hell happened?” and it looks almost soap opery. So we had to lay it in at the end to make it look the same, but it is still a lot easier to shoot it digitally. You can move faster.

BOBBY FARRELLY: We rely a lot too on our production designer and our wardrobe people and just the colors that they use that it would harken you back to the first film.

Q: The end credits are wonderful. Can you talk about the thought that went into that and the juxtaposition of the characters 20 years ago and now?

BOBBY FARRELLY: It’s funny, we’ve been thinking about doing that for the whole time. But when you do test screenings, you basically quit right when the movie ends, and then people score the movie how they want to accordingly. But that is something that we wanted to do, to just show them then and now, because there’s such a fondness for the old movie. And also, it was just to see how similar they are now running around doing the same stuff. It’s a funny thing. When we did our last test screening, it really hadn’t changed that much, but we added that. We added the end credits and the scores went through the roof, particularly for women. Women went up like 25 points. It was unbelievable how much they went up because I think they could see the boys that were up there and there was a love for those characters and seeing them at the end. I’m glad we did it.

PETER FARRELLY: One of the things that I thought was pretty remarkable was how much they look alike, like a scene from the original and a scene from this one. Sometimes we’d get confused. Is that from the original or this one? It was fun to put them next to each other like that.

BOBBY FARRELLY: Yeah, it was good to see them like that.

Q: Where do you think these characters will be in another 20 years? What is the possibility of a third movie?

BOBBY FARRELLY: Hopefully, in 20 years, we will make a third movie, and hopefully they will not have changed at all. I’m sure they’re going to be a little bit older. That’s the beauty of these two characters, Harry and Lloyd. It’s that they don’t grow. They’re like little boys, all their lives. Even if they’re much older and grayer, they would still be little boys at heart.

PETER FARRELLY: When you cut away all the jokes, really all this is, is a love story between those two guys because that’s all they have. They don’t have anything. They’ve got no jobs. They’ve got no friends. They have nothing. They’re buddies.

BOBBY FARRELLY: Their pants are falling off. They’ve just got each other, and that is what each one is about. It’s a little love story between these two guys. So, we’ll be curious to find out what happens next time. It also does feel fitting that this will be a trilogy. So I would think that there maybe would be one more, God willing.


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